28 Mar 2023
"Does God give financially to the giver who gives financially? " "Is giving then a strategy for Christians to get rich? " "What is the biblical understanding of the teaching of "sowing and reaping" in giving? " This sermon seeks to properly present a balanced view to a powerful motivation of "sowing and reaping" in financial giving. Discover how you can be a truly joyous or cheerful giver. And learn how your giving is not just about meeting needs, but is also the means to bring praise, worship and unity for God's glory.
"Does God give financially to the giver who gives financially?"
"Is giving then a strategy for Christians to get rich?"
"What is the biblical understanding of the teaching of "sowing and reaping" in giving?"
This sermon seeks to properly present a balanced view to a powerful motivation of "sowing and reaping" in financial giving. Discover how you can be a truly joyous or cheerful giver. And learn how your giving is not just about meeting needs, but is also the means to bring praise, worship and unity for God's glory.
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We are entering the last sermon about giving in 2 Corinthians. We looked at two messages in Chapter 8; today just one sermon in the entire Chapter 9.
Just to recap, the apostle Paul was writing to the church at ancient Corinth to tell them about the needs in Jerusalem, and to motivate them to giving and meeting the physical financial needs of the brothers and sisters there.
We began in Chapter 8 where Paul used the example of the churches at Macedonia, how they gave in the midst of extremity. They overflowed in generosity and they gave with tremendous humility. The apostle Paul also reminded the Corinthians how Jesus Himself was eter.., who is eternally glorious, laid aside heaven's glory, became poor, born as man that He may die on the cross in order for all of us to be enriched.
And then the apostle Paul in our sermon last week, talked about two questions or answered two questions. The question on affordability — how much should we give, should we give everything, and what is the goal of our giving? He also touched on the question on accountability — how will we know that no amount or nothing of that collection would line the pockets of those who carry the funds?
So these are the things Paul has spoken and now we come to Chapter 9. He continues to teach us and in particular, sowing and reaping in financial giving. So let's take a look at what he says.
He says in verse 1, "Now it is superfluous..." that's a big word in English, but in the Greek it means it is excessive. It's unnecessary, it's probably not necessary. So he says, "It's excessive for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints."
Just pause and remind you that the word "ministry" is the Greek word "diakonia" which is to serve like a servant. We are giving to the church at Jerusalem, but we must never have that attitude that we are better than them, and they owe us something, but we are there to serve them. So, "It is excessive, unnecessary, I think you guys know this, for me to write to you about the service for the saints."
"For I know your readiness..." [2 Cor 9:2] "I know that you are ready to give, I know that you are willing to give." "... of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia."
This is interesting! Right now, Paul is using the Macedonians to encourage the Corinthians. But actually a year ago, Paul used the Corinthians to encourage the Macedonians, but somehow, "Achaia has been ready since last year ..."[2 Cor 9:2], for the entire year, things have become sluggish. They were initially willing, enthusiastic but somehow things are not panning out so well. "... so I used you guys to stir up their zeal last time. I'm sending now the brothers."
Who are the brothers? Titus and the two unnamed brothers, we looked at that in Chapter 8. "I'm sending this team to you to gather the funds, so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be." [2 Cor 9:3] "I hope that we will not be caught embarrassed."
"Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated — to say nothing of you — for being so confident." [2 Cor 9:4]
There is a very appropriate local term for this. We call this 'lau kui' [to be embarrassed in Hokkien dialect]. "We got to send a team to get the funds ready because otherwise if the Macedonians come and look at you guys, whom we boasted of a year ago, we will lau kui, you will also lau kui. So, get it ready," Paul is saying.
"So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers, Titus and the two unnamed brothers, to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, and not as an exaction." [2 Cor 9:5]
Just a bit of a ... a precision here, the word "willing gift" is the word "eulogia", which is to speak well or to bless - eulogia. And the word "exaction" is the Greek word "pleonexia", which means to be covetous or to be greedy or to be filled with avarice.
So Paul is saying, "I want you to get ready your gift so that it is something that is significant and meaningful and helpful, and not something that is stingy and meager." That's what he's saying, "We got to get this ready." So Paul says, "I'm getting a team ready in advance so that we will not be lau kui."
But he doesn't just depend on the team because right now he's going to write on to encourage the Corinthians in giving. What is he going to say to encourage the Corinthians to give?
There was a story of a pastor who was trying to raise funds because the offerings had not been that great. So he came up with an idea, he said to the church, "Anyone who gives the most ..." Now, we are never going to do that in Gospel Light but this is what he did. "Anyone who gives the most will be given the privilege to choose three hymns."
So at the end of the service, they recognized that this lady gave the most. So she came up on stage and the pastor says, "Because you've given the most, you can now choose three hymns." She looked at the congregation and she said, "Him, him, and him." Well that's not a proper motivation for giving. It's unbiblical. Paul would not say that, neither would we.
What would Paul say to encourage giving? Look at what he's saying. Verse 6, "The point is this:", in the Greek it simply means, and the thing is, that's what it is. "And the thing is: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." [2 Cor 9:6]
So, he gives the teaching of sowing and reaping. He's saying in effect, the person who gives is never a loser, because we often think that when we give we lose. But Paul says, "No, you're not a loser! When you give, you will gain in return just like a farmer will. You give, you sow, you don't lose, you sow, you will have a harvest. You will reap, you will gain." And if I may say, you'll gain more than you actually sowed.
So this is a key principle or key teaching in Paul's encouragement to the Corinthians. The principle or the teaching of sowing and reaping in financial giving. Three elements or three principles, I'd like to draw out from this teaching.
Number one, the principle of increase.
When you sow, you think about the farmer, you think about him sowing. Does he go out sowing seed crying, "Aiyoh, such a waste!" Huk, he doesn't think like that, right? When he goes out sowing, he knows that this is going to be good. This is going to pay off handsomely in the future. "I'm not throwing away my seeds, I'm investing them. I ... I'm giving away so that in due time I may reap a harvest." You don't lose out, you actually gain in return.
I think that's what Paul would understand it or want them to understand because in verse 7, he goes on to say, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor 9:7]
Huk, this is the difference between a sad giver and a glad giver. A sad giver thinks that when he gives, he loses, he gets nothing back. A glad giver understands that when he gives, he doesn't lose, one day he will gain it back and maybe even more.
So he says, "When you understand this principle, you will not be a reluctant giver." The word "reluctantly" means to give in sorrow or pain, very 'gau wei' [uneasy in Hokkien dialect], very.. very 'cham' [pathetic in Hokkien dialect]. That's the idea!
You will not give under compulsion, exactly what it means. You will not be compelled from the outside. You ... you should not give because you're compelled from the outside, but you give because you are joyous. The word "cheerful" is the Greek word "hilaros".
Now I know immediately, we will all say, "Ah, God loves a hilarious giver." Well, it is hilaros, but we must not understand the word "hilarious" the way the English language conveys it. Because the word "hilaros" in the Greek does not have the same connotation as the English word "hilarious" which is translated later on in time. We call this anachronism. We should not apply something that is nearer to us to something that is further back.
But the point is clear - God loves a cheerful, joyous giver. Why? Why can you be a joyous, a cheerful giver? Because you believe and you understand the principle of sowing and reaping. You are not losing when you give, basically that's what Paul is saying.
Now, many of you would have this FAQ - Frequently Asked Question, why is Gospel Light not teaching us about tithing? That's a common question, right? We get that almost every time we meet with new people. Don't your church practise tithing, and so on and so forth? Well, the simple response to that question is this. I think this is the principle for us in the New Testament - God loves a cheerful, joyful giver, not because he is compelled. We don't believe that the Old Testament command for the Jews to tithe in their time is repeated in the New Testament for the church today.
By the way, if you don't already know for the Jews, they have to tithe 10% to the Levites. But if you add on all the other tithes, for feasts and so on, actually an average Jew has to give not 10%, but 23.3%. So if you're prepared to give 23.3%, then you insist on tithing lah! But none of you would say that. Probably you say, "Uh 10%." Now, I'm not against people giving 10%. It can be your own personal conviction and guide. Nothing wrong! But to say that this is God's command, that the New Testament church must, all of us must give 10%, I think is stretching it. It's not repeated in the New Testament. It is, I think an unbiblical perspective.
What's more, I think it's dangerous to us, for us to think, "Oh, I give 10% to God, to church, and then 90%, I can spend it all on myself." That's not proper! Actually, everything belongs to God, and we are His steward. So Paul says, "Understand the principle of sowing and reaping, give cheerfully when you really grasp and believe this principle, and you should not be compelled to do so."
I was just reading last night, saw an article about a church that is facing lawsuit for forcing their staff to tithe 10% of their wages. Well, this is not just in the US, I think in Singapore, I hear about churches where the church leaders would want you to submit, or want members to submit your pay-slip. They check how much you give, and if you give less than 10%, you are a bad member. I do not know what they're going to do to you, but you can rest assured right here, we don't enforce this at all because we don't see it in the Bible.
But we want to encourage you as what Paul was encouraging the Corinthians. When you give, there's the teaching of sowing and reaping, there's a principle of increase. You don't lose out, you gain, and you gain more in return, just like a seed will produce even more seeds to come.
Now let's see secondly, a principle of interval.
When we give to God today, it doesn't mean I'll be rich, or enriched immediately. There is a time factor, there's a time interval. So for example in Proverbs 3, "Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce." [Prov 3:9] And the Bible says, "Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine." [Prov 3:10]
That's a general principle in Proverbs, that if we're stingy with God, you die in your stinginess, but if you're generous according to God's will, He does not allow you to be a loser. You do not lose out.
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want." [Prov 11:24] That's the principle, wisdom literature in Proverbs.
"Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD and He will repay him for his deed." [Prov 19:17] God sees to that, sowing and reaping.
"Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse." [Prov 28:27]
In the New Testament we read about Paul saying, "I have received full payment ..." [Phil 4:8-19] He's in prison, he received support from the Philippian church. "... I'm well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent ... and my God will supply every need of yours according to the, His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
It was John Bunyan who said, "A man there was and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had." I think that succinctly summarizes financial giving and the teaching on sowing and reaping.
So number one, there's a principle of increase. Number two, there's a principle of interval. And number three, this is really important, the principle of intent.
This, I think is the most important part I want to emphasize. Now, I used to love to go arcade. You know what's arcade? You ... you play those, you slot your money in and you play those games. And I like to play, for example, driving games. Er, I think I'm not good at it, my sons are probably better, but you know it's quite fun to eee ... drive.
Sometimes, they set the difficulty level so high that it is difficult to drive. Because when you steer to the left, too much, it crashes the wall and you want to correct yourself and you steer to the other side, but it oversteers very easily and you crash to the other wall. So you ... I look so embarrassing, crash here, crash here, crash here, crash here. And people say, "Can't you drive properly?" But you see, that's the difficulty in driving in a straight line, we tend to oversteer.
So let me give you an example about oversteer in understanding the teaching of sowing and reaping. Some people can go to an extreme. "Ah, 2 Corinthians 9:6, I sow sparingly, I reap sparingly. I sow abundantly, I will reap abundantly. So this is my way of getting rich, I give to God and that is the formula to wealth in this life."
And that in essence, is what fuels the "prosperity gospel". "You come to God, you come to church, and if you're struggling financially, you give and when you give, God will then bless you with riches." And after a while, people look at Christianity as a joke, as a means to get rich, as if the Bible is majoring on how you and I can be wealthy.
That's how false teachers today operate, they operate on this oversteer of this principle. So you have people like Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, terrible false teachers, who teach a dangerous, poisonous false teaching of the "prosperity gospel".
It is people like John Piper who would point these things out and say, "I hate, I abominate the prosperity gospel because the prosperity gospel does not lead man to God, it only leads man to idolatry. Prosperity gospel does not make God God, but he uses God to feed your idol, that is mammon or riches. It is a ... it is a doctrine, a false teaching that we should utterly reject."
But you see, someone has looked at 2 Corinthians 9 verse 6 and swerved it to a means to get rich. But you know what well-intentioned Christians then do? Like the arcade game ... game, I oversteered on one side, then we steer them to the other. So what happens is, when we look at a verse like this, we ... we ... we hate the prosperity gospel. We don't think that God wants us to get rich, God wants us to be covetous. We don't think God wants us to pierce ourselves through with many sorrows.
So, we look at the verse like this and we swing to the other extreme and say, "Oh...! Paul is not saying that you will reap financially. Paul is only saying that when you give to God, God will bless you spiritually." We kind of deny what Paul is saying, or at best we ignore what Paul is saying. We kind of in our hearts reject this teaching, because of the fear of going into the "prosperity gospel".
So let me bring you to the arcade game of sowing and reaping. Let's ... let's ... let's drive. We go on the road, we want to honor God in giving, but sometimes we steer ourselves a little bit too much to one side, and we say, "God, or God teaches us that we give, so that I can be rich." This is clearly not the teaching of the Bible. God does not want us to be idolatrous or covetous, that I think is very clear. So we reject this teaching.
But it is possible now that you swing to the other extreme when you say, "God does not give more money to the givers. Nah.., He will give you joy and peace, and He gives you a lot of other things but He will never give you financially. He will never give you physical blessings. He does not!" But again, this is not what 2 Corinthians 9 and verse 6 is saying.
So I think we need to steer back, and it takes great skill not to steer here or to steer there but to steer right in the middle. And I think this is the middle and the right understanding of sowing and reaping. And it is this - God gives to givers so that — intent — so that he can continue to give. So God honors those who are generous, not that they will raise their standard of living but that they will raise their standard of giving. The intent is everything.
You know there is a similar line of argument. The Bible tells us, "Let your good works so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Is it wrong to let our works be seen by people? No! But in the next chapter in Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus also said, "Be careful that you do not do your works before men to be seen of men."
One says, "You can do your good works." The other says, "You cannot do your good works before men." Why? Because one says "Okay, if your intent is so that your Father in heaven is glorified." The other is not allowed because your intent is so that you will be glorified. Same thing but the motives are totally different.
So when we look at the principle of sowing and reaping, we believe God can and will give, and supply the needs of those who are generous. But the intent is not for you to be rich. The intent is not so that you can live it up. The intent is not to feed your covetousness. The intent is so that you can continue to be a channel of blessing.
Now this is not from me, this is what Paul is saying. He says in verse 6, "This is the point - You sow and you will reap." And verse 8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." [2 Cor 9:8]
Look at that - You may abound. That's the goal! Not so that you will be having a wonderful luxurious life.
Verse 10, "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing." [2 Cor 9:10] To give even more!
And verse 11, "You'll be enriched in every way to be generous in every way." That's the goal, that we will be generous.
So, let's look at verse 8 in detail. I want to give you what Paul is trying to convey. He is kind of giving you a rock solid assurance and guarantee - God will bless you in every way, including financially.
"Wah Pastor, you sound like a false teacher leh!" No, let me ... no.. He will bless you financially but not so that you'll be rich, but so that you'll be generous. Alright, let's be clear about that. But he makes it so clear. Look at the use of superlatives — all grace, abound, all sufficiency, all things, all times, abound, every good work. Look at that, he's.. he's making it so clear!
He goes on to say, "As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." [2 Cor 9:9] This is a quote from Psalm 112 and verse 9. I think the best way to understand "his righteousness endures forever" refers to the righteous works, it will be remembered forever. God honors those who give.
"He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness." [2 Cor 9:10] This is a reference to two passages in the Old Testament, Isaiah 55:10 and Hosea 10:12. He's using Scripture to prove his point of sowing and reaping, it is what God honors.
And back to verse 11, "You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way." [2 Cor 9:11] So this one verse again brings us back to this driving illustration. When you turn to one side saying, "God gives me riches, so that I can be rich." I think it is refuted in the sense, the goal is for you to be generous, not for you to be rich.
But if you swing to the other extreme and say, "God does not give more money to givers." I say to you, it is pretty clear to me in this text, God says, "You will be enriched, in every way including financially." Sure, includes joy and peace and spiritual blessings, but financial blessings is in mind, as well.
So we come to the centre, and I think this is the understanding we must walk away with. God gives to givers, so that, that is so important, so that they can continue to give.
Before I was a Christian, I was in Gospel Light, I still remember, in the building at our church. I... I can't remember exactly the time sequence, but I came across, I think, this brochure, this tract. It's called "The Reason Why". It does not look like this. I can't find the picture that was, the exact same colour that in those days, but I had a copy of "The Reason Why", written by Robert Laidlaw. And it was a ... to me, at that time when I was seeking, a wonderful literature to explain many things about the Christian faith.
It helped me a lot, so I remember that name. Robert Laidlaw is a successful businessman, a Christian businessman, who ... who read, who wrote this tract. And I'm.. I read that it was translated to 30 over languages, printed more than 50 million times. But his life is interesting, because when he was 18 and a half years old, people start work early in those days, he had one pound of wages per week, and he decided to give one-tenth to the Lord.
Then when he was a little bit more older, he says, "Before money gets a grip on my heart, by the grace of God, I enter into the following pledge with my Lord..." Something voluntary. "If the Lord blessed me with 'X' amount of money, I would give 15% of all I earned. If the Lord blessed me with 'Y' amount of money, I would give 20% of all I earned, and if the Lord blessed me with 'Z' amount of money, I would give 25% of all I earned."
But when he was 25 years old, "I decided to change the above graduated scale and now start giving 50% of all my earnings." At the age of 75, a multi-millionaire now, he says, "God has graciously entrusted to me a stewardship far beyond my expectations."
Now, of course, I ... we all can't get into his life and understand all the nits and grit, but I think his life stands as a testimony of how what he gives to the Lord, God has blessed him. And he is not looking at his riches as if that's the end all and be all, but he is rejoicing in the stewardship. The privilege to have more, so that he can be more generous to those around him. He goes on to say, "In all my wide experience I've never met a man who was mean with money matters with God, who was blessed with spiritual gift." God blesses those who are generous.
Maybe you're not familiar with Robert Laidlaw, you may be familiar with John Wesley. This is something that you can find on the Internet with regard to his budget. I'm not sure how people found that out, but this is what it says.
In the first year of his earnings, he had 30 pounds. And his living expenses took 28 pounds and he gave two pounds to the poor. In the second year, his income doubled, and his giving increased dramatically to 32 pounds. By the third year, he gave even more, even though his income has increased, he has kept his living expenses the same. By the fourth year, he gave 77% of his income; and the subsequent years of his life, he had more than 1,400 and gave almost all of that to the poor. That's John Wesley. When God blessed him, he increased the standard of his giving.
And then there is this man. You know who he is? Oh, no one knows. Not our church member. His name is George Müller. I'm sure you have heard of this name for many of you - George Müller. "The more George Müller poured his limited resources into the poor orphans he befriended, the more God poured into his coffers ..." Sowing, reaping! "... The more God poured into his coffers, the more he lifted up, the more he enlarged his work, and the more he gave away. As a result, George Müller died a poor man having given away millions, and woke up in glory one of heaven's billionaires."
This is the teaching of sowing and reaping in financial giving. God promises an increase. Yes, there may be an interval, but it's so important that when our intent is spot on, we can be a cheerful giver.
Giving is not a burden. Giving is a tremendous privilege. Giving allows us to see the faithfulness of God, and how God pays back, and pays back handsomely that we may continue to give, and rejoice at the privilege of being a channel of blessing.
So, we have seen the predicament Paul was in. He lays down this principle of sowing and reaping. Finally, let's look at the power of the giving that is mentioned here.
The giving does not just meet physical needs. There are wonderful benefits that came out, or that will come out from the Corinthian generosity. "You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." [2 Cor 9:11]
The point Paul is saying is, "When you give to your brothers and sisters in Christ in Jerusalem, when they receive the gift, they will give thanks to God, and that is pleasing to God. That's what God wants, that we will be a thankful people, that we will give thanks to God." He says, "This is the wonderful benefit of your generosity to the Jerusalem church."
"For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs ..." [2 Cor 9:12] It's important to supply the needs, but more than that, "... it's overflowing in many thanksgiving to God." He's still very much focused on this thanksgiving.
Just a side note, "the ministry" is the word "diakonia", as I've mentioned, it's service. And the word "service" here is the word "leitourgia", which you get the word "liturgy", it means spiritual worship. So when we give to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is worship. It is in a sense, offering to God. It's spiritual worship acceptable to Him.
"By their approval of this service ..." [2 Cor 9:13]. I think the 'their' is probably best or better translated — by 'the' approval of the service, that's what the Greek allows. And I think the idea here is — when you Corinthians, give generously to the church at Jerusalem, the Jerusalem church would recognize, they will see the provenness of the work of the Gospel in your lives. You are marked out as genuine followers of Jesus, the people of God.
So by their observation of your service, they can see that you are tested and proven, "... they will now glorify God." So very much in line with thanksgiving. They will glorify God, why? Because of your submission and because of your generosity. They see that your submission to God's will and your generosity flows from the work of the Gospel in your life. And they will give thanks to God.
And this allows, I think a greater purpose to be achieved. That in the giving of the Gentile church to the Jerusalem church, there is a knitting of hearts. There's an understanding that we are all under the grace of God in the Gospel. They see that togetherness, the unity of the church that is so precious to God. That shows the world the manifold wisdom of God in the Gospel, uniting Jews and Gentiles as one.
So he goes on to say, "The generosity of your contribution ..." [2 Cor 9:13] The word "contribution", koinonia, we kind of looked at that earlier in 2 Corinthians 8, it's the sharing of life.
Oh, the Jews and the Gentiles are no more separate but one, "While they long for you and pray for you." [2 Cor 9:14] They ... they now have a greater intimacy with you because they see the work of the Gospel also in your lives.
And so Paul is saying, "Guys, you can give cheerfully, you don't have to feel pained or sorrowful in giving. You don't have to feel compelled in giving, if you only understand sowing and reaping. Your God will give to you even more, so that you can give even more. So that there will be more thanksgiving and worship and unity that flows out of this giving."
And my friends today, I hope, I'm not here to raise funds. I'm not here to have a specific cause. I ... I'm here to encourage you to look at stewardship in a whole new light. That God's Gospel may work in our hearts, that we may practise Gospel generosity. That we will be a people who will look out at other people's needs and say, "We want to be willing to serve, we want to be willing to give and not be tight-fisted."
I think in Singapore, it is not always easy to find people with financial needs. But perhaps it's important to grasp the principle here and trust that God will also bless us as we meet others in other needs, whether it's acts of service or emotional needs. We should be ready to serve because our God is a generous God; He's not a taker, He's a Giver. That's the point, you can be a cheerful giver, because our God is a generous Giver.
At the end of the day, the apostle Paul, almost like that last thought, says in verse 15, "Thanks be to God for His inexpressible, out of this world, too great for words gift!"
And what is this? I think most of us will understand it to be the gift of Jesus Christ, His Son. You can never outgive this God. He's a generous God. He gives His Son and He will enrich you in every way so that you can be generous in every way.
What a wonderful God we serve! And I pray Gospelighters, we will grow in gospel generosity. You'll look at your bank account today in a whole new light, you look at giving in a whole new light. May we be a group, a community of wonderful, cheerful, gospel-centred givers for His glory.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
As I've been saying in the past two, three sermons, Gospel Light doesn't preach about financial giving on a weekly basis. We only preach about this because this is the text that is before us, as we journey through the Bible. But what Paul said in verse 15, the gift of Jesus Christ to sinful man is the message we talk about every Sunday.
Some of you are here with us for the first time and you may be very disturbed that we are talking about financial giving. Let me assure you, this is not what we often talk about, because there's a greater message to give to the world. There's a central message that the world needs to hear. There's a crucial message that you need to believe in and that is - God has given His Son to die on the cross that He may save you from your sins, that you may now be rescued and be drawn back to God, your Creator.
This is the gift and the message I hope you'll walk away with. So my dear friends, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Turn from your sin and believe in Jesus today.
To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope this has been a refreshing journey through the understanding of giving in the Bible. People have used different manipulative tactics to get you to empty your pockets because they want things from you. They enforce compulsory giving perhaps, they watch your income like a hawk. They give false teachings like the prosperity gospel, so that you can be duped into thinking giving to God is like an investment plan.
But there has never been the will of God. The will of God is not that God's people will be covetous and idolatrous and greedy and filled with these kinds of avarice. But God's will is that His people will be generous. That as we give, we will experience God's faithfulness to give back to us, that we may continue to give, and rejoice that one day, together with George Müller, we can wake up in heaven thanking God for the privilege in our lifetime to be a blessing to many people.
Let the thief who stole steal no more, but rather let him work with his hands so that he may have to give to others, to those who don't. That has to be the posture and the attitude of the follower of Jesus Christ. We are here to be a blessing, we are here to give, we are here to sacrifice, we are here to serve because Jesus gave Himself for us.
May God bless you, may God bless this church, that we would understand radical gospel generosity for His Name's sake.
So Father, thank You again for this morning, for Your Word, bless it to all our hearts. May sinners turn and be saved, and may Christians be radically generous, that there will be thanksgiving and worship and unity as we serve one another. Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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